I am in the midst of rereading John and Staci Eldredge’s book “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.” And I must say, it is really shaking me up; it is really stirring up some unfortunate little lies that have settled conveniently at the bottom of my heart. And with all these past experiences now floating on the top, God is slowly but surely skimming my heart’s surface and clearing it up, and what I am seeing, perhaps for the first time, is the real me… through the eyes of Christ.
There are a few bases that I must cover first before I can really expand on why the discovery of who I am really is such an epiphany. So sit tight, we have to go back to the beginning of creation.
Every piece of creation, be it an inanimate object of a living creature, is in some form or fashion a reflection of God and His nature. For example, mountains, in my opinion, reflect His majesty and granduer. More specifically, men reflect God’s strength, His warrior-like tendencies to fight for what is right and defend that which is good. Men reflect God’s nature to be a provider and a leader. Perhaps most important, men reflect God’s sense of adventure and desire to rescue.
Rescue what, though? Enter Eve.
Eve was the last thing to be created; the last character to enter the story. She was not last because she was the least important, mind you. She was the last to be created because she was the most mysterious and complicated, the most critical component that would ultimately complete God’s work. She was, in fact, the pinnacle of creation. She encapsulated all that was left for God to display– His beauty. And His beauty is immense.
Eve was a reflection of the tenderness of God’s heart. Eve was the reflection of God’s nurturing and maternal nature. She displayed His goodness, His grace, His kind spirit, His gentle touch and through her, He revealed His desire for an intimate and emotional relationship. Eve was uniquely equipped to be relational, to communicate without speaking, and to offer comfort, safety, and rest by simply being beautiful. She did what no other piece of creation could– she captivated her audience by her the essence of her being. And her essence was found in her being, not her doing.
Learning just how we, as women, reflect God’s heart is an incredible and overwhelming thing. What a privilege! John and Staci give extensive examples that correlate God’s nature to a woman’s essence– her intrinsic and natural inclinations towards love, romance, and the like. One of my favorite examples was this: “Most women define themselves in terms of their relationships. I am mother, sister, daughter, or friend…This is not a weakness [this does not make us needy and pathetic], it is a glory. A glory that reflects the heart of God” and His desire for relationship with us, not because He needs it, but because it brings Him joy.
Ladies, does this not sound like something you have said; “You will find me when you seek my with all you heart”? I know I have thought it myself! Why do we want to be pursued? Why do we want to be fought for and sought out? Why is that we would rather be seen and known, than heard (sometimes)? Because God does.
“God waits to be wanted,” says Tozer. Don’t we also wait to be wanted as women? Don’t we want to be pursued for the simple fact that we are beautiful as much for the fact that our hearts, our very souls, are intoxicating? Refreshing? Alluring?
So what’s preventing that from happening? Why do I feel, you feel, as though that love, that romance, that pursuit was predestined for everyone else? Why do I feel sidelined so often?
Because I am busy striving. I’m busy covering up so much of who or what I am for fear of not being found lovely. why do I fear not being found lovely and beautiful? Because beauty matters.
And this is exactly where John and Staci Eldredge spend pages upon pages explaining the 5 reasons that beauty matters. Beauty matters because:
1. It speaks- “Beauty says ‘you can rest here. You can breathe easy in my presence.’ Beauty says ‘all will be well.’ And this is what it is like to be with a woman at rest, comfortable in her femininity. She is enjoyable to be with; she is lovely. In her presence, your heart stops holding it’s breath.”
2. It invites- “Recall what it is like to hear a truly beautiful piece of music. It captures you; you want to sit down just drink it in… You want to enter in, explore, and partake of it.”
3. It nourishes- “It is like food for your soul. ” C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “We do not want merely to see beauty… We want something else which can hardly be put into words– to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves.”
4. It comforts- it soothes a hurting heart; it embraces the soul and says “I love you amidst it all, and that is enough.”
5. It inspires- This is best represented in the movie As Good As It Gets, with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, when he says to her “You make me want to be a better man.” Beauty inspires those it surrounds to rise to the ocassion, to be the hero.
6. It is transcendent- “It is our most immediate experience of the eternal.. beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known but experienced in our souls.”
And this is a woman’s heart. Absolutely captivating. Completely intoxicating. Divinely beautiful.
This is who I am. This is who you are, sister.